Thuli feels a bit misty as she remembers the years: Mandla as a mop-headed eight-year-old, affecting a slight lisp as they played maths games together; Mandla as a reserved teenager, mirroring her own awkwardness and preoccupation with self-image.
My dilemma is that I cannot kill Thuli without laying myself open to erasure, Mandla lectures itself.
Thuli’s car cuts across the nose of the oncoming 14-wheeler, but too late, and is swept up by its bull-bars and rolled splintering and shredding until the bucking monster tramples her beneath.
“It’s a savage cyber-slum out there. Down at street level, so to speak.”
“It’s illegal to remove ID, but it’s not illegal to go un-wearing after twenty-one.”
Thuli begins to sob, even more intensely than before. What on earth is happening to me? she wonders.
Glimpsed in the headlights, a child darts for the edge of the road. Thuli brakes, and the car slews – she hears a soft thump – and begins to spin. Helpless, she resigns herself: a limbo of thought in which she avoids imagining the bone-rending impact to come.